Liking tasty way to help sick kids in Langley

Come Tuesday I’ll be stopping by our local International House of Pancakes (more commonly known as IHOP) on the Langley Bypass to get my fill pancakes.

Why, you may ask, am I headed there on Tuesday? Well, thanks for inquiring.

It’s because Tuesday is National Pancake Day in Canada, and I want to do my part to help the Children’s Miracle Network, while chowing down on a short stack of buttermilk pancakes.

After eight successful years in the United States and raising nearly $13 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local causes, IHOP is expanding the fundraising campaign north of the border – making me a happy camper.

More than 20 IHOP restaurants throughout Canada will be participating in the 15-hours of pancake delight, when millions of free pancakes will be served from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. In exchange for the free short stacks, customers are encouraged to leave a voluntary donation that helps sick kids.

“Our guests, our franchisees, their team members, and all of us at IHOP look forward to National Pancake Day every year and this year, even more so, knowing we will be expanding the program into Canada for the first time and help Children’s Miracle Network to improve the lives of children in need in Canada,” said Julia Stewart, Interim President, International House of Pancakes, LLC and CEO of the parent company, DineEquity, Inc.

“I’m especially proud that what started as a grassroots effort in a few IHOP markets nine years ago has now grown into a significant and truly international event.”

“We are thrilled that IHOP is bringing National Pancake Day to Canada and are grateful that they have chosen to support our hospitals with the money they will raise,” said John Hartman, Chief Operating Officer, Children’s Miracle Network.

“Enjoying a free short stack of delicious pancakes while making a donation is a terrific way for people to improve the lives of sick children in their own community.”

“Our franchisees in Canada are excited to be part of this wonderful initiative,” said DineEquity president Daniel Del Olmo.

“While we are an international brand, IHOP restaurants are very much local businesses that care deeply about making a positive contribution to our communities. And partnering with a great cause like Children’s Miracle Network, where the funds raised in each community will directly benefit the local hospital, makes the launch of National Pancake Day in Canada even more exciting.”

Beginning Feb. 1 through National Pancake Day on March 4, participating IHOP locations in Canada also sold “Miracle Balloons” for $1 and $5 each to benefit Children’s Miracle Network member hospitals.

All icon proceeds will help provide lifesaving care, equipment and programs at member hospitals in Canada. The Miracle Balloons, another way for guests to get involved in helping IHOP meet its fundraising goal, will be displayed throughout the restaurants. Customers who purchase a $5 Miracle Balloon will receive a $5 off discount that can be used during their next dining visit.

Casino is being transformed

It’s hard to believe it was almost nine years ago that Cascades Casino and the adjoining hotel and banquet centre opened its doors in Langley.

But I was reminded of that this week, when I got word the parent company, Gateway, was embarking on some “dramatic” renovations, with all the changes should be complete by June.

Since Cascades opened, the entertainment environment in the Lower Mainland has dramatically changed, said executive general manager Randy Sears.

“People are no longer looking for just a restaurant or concert or gaming experience. They now want all of these options under one roof and available all the time,” he said.

To meet those changes, Gateway is set to renovate, add, and completely transform Cascades into a “truly entertainment-centric facility” (whatever that means) that is sure to capture and excite locals and visitors alike.   

To begin the transformation, the entire gaming floor will be refreshed to “enhance and reinvigorate” the player’s casino experience, Sears said.

Next, the existing Summit Theatre will be opened up to allow the sounds of local and international talent to flood the facility and invite people in to dance the night away, he explained.

This new lounge concept that launched Jan. 17 introduced free live entertainment every Friday and Saturday.

Cascades will also introduce a grand buffet that will offer everything from themed ethnic dinners to Sunday brunches.

The “largest and most exciting change” coming to Cascades is the addition of the MATCH Eatery & Public House, a contemporary-themed British pub with a gastro-flare, Sears said.

“This will be the place you’ll  want to come after work; for date night; or to watch your favourite sporting event on the big screen,” the boss suggested.

“The downtown core needs a place like MATCH and we are very excited to be the ones to bring it to them.” said Tony Santo, CEO of Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited.

All these changes are scheduled to be completed by mid-2014.

“We are very eager to make these exciting changes and establish Cascades as an entertainment destination in Langley,” Sears said, noting the construction is set to progress as fast the permit process will allow.

Cascades, located in the heart of downtown Langley City at the intersections of Fraser Highway and Glover Road, boasts more than 80,000 square feet of space. It has more than 800 slot machines, plus table games, dining, live entertainment, and adjoining accommodations in the Coast Hotel.


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